Bruce Ajari: Pyramid Lake cutthroat camping out in warm water
April 10, 2009
Last weekend the Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers had an outing to Pyramid Lake on the Paiute Indian Reservation northeast of Reno. About eight anglers made the trip out to this large desert lake.
The temperature was cold as the first anglers arrived at their destination on the southern part of the lake. A cool northeast wind greeted them, and as the first group of them came in from fishing for about 30 minutes, conditions were not right at this location for the rest of the group to begin. The water temperature was a mere 45 degrees, and the water was off-color.
A quick discussion resulted in a decision to go to the southwest side of the lake. Once there and the group began fishing, it was pretty apparent that this location was not going to yield much either. The water was still pretty cool and cloudy. A lone fish was landed.
A break for lunch followed and a decision to head farther north was made. As the group got close to its new location, we pulled out at a turnout that overlooks the spot. We saw a large number of anglers in place, so we decided to go to a point south of the South Nets along what is called the Washout.
Once there, we waded out as far as we dared and found that the water was still pretty cool at 47 degrees. However, just after beginning, the two anglers to my right hooked fish. Only one was landed, but it was encouraging. It was difficult to reach the defined drop-off that we could see barely within our casting range. Those initial fished proved to be the only hook-ups at this location.
While taking a break, our past president, Vicki Fenner, had talked to a Fisheries Biologist who had been watching us fish. He gave her much of the information that I had asked in my column last week.
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As you may recall, I wrote that the fishing at Pyramid this past winter and early spring had been the worst that I had experienced since they began the special regulations on this lake with a slot limit. He confirmed while talking to her that it had indeed been a very poor year thus far.
I thought it might be that fewer fish were being put into the lake, but he stated that 500,000 fish had been planted in the lake this past year. His thought on why the lake was fishing so poorly was the fact that the climate this season was very different. He indicated that the fish would come in very well when it was 50 to 52 degrees. He explained that the lake’s temperature this season had been fluctuating, and that the fish would move in and then back out when it cooled. That is apparently why we had not seen many fish this season.
He provided us with a tip about where he had seen the most fish caught. A short drive later we arrived. Ironically, the water temperature at this location was 52 degrees, and there were certainly more fish present. We saw at least seven fish landed before several people in our party hooked fish. Almost everyone got at least a bite at this location.
This certainly made me feel better knowing there is still hope in seeing good numbers of fish in the shallows this season at Pyramid. It also proves just why carrying a thermometer is a valuable tool when it comes to finding a good location to fish.
Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.